Friday, April 17, 2009

Texas Secede!!!

Now there's a terrible idea.

I still don't think anyone honestly believes Perry is serious about this stuff, so I don't know why everyone is up in arms about the fact he made a joke that reflects Texas bumper sticker humor. Aside from the fact that you guys outside of Texas are all a little bit afraid of us. Which is awesome. Because you should be.

Legend has it, Texas legally has the right to do two wacky things as defined by the agreements under which Texas entered the Union.

1) We can, Voltron-like, break into five states any time we like. Apparently the vast expanse of Texas seemed unweildy to the folks who annexed Texas, so that provision was pretty darn clear in the Annexation paperwork. It was also tied to the Missouri Compromise in ways that probably amde more sense to folks back then than to me, but... anyway. It was (and maybe still is) an option.

I say we get rid of Orange County and Vidor, if we have the option, but nobody listens to me.

2) Secede. From 1836 - 1845, Texas was its own, independent, yahoo-filled, broke down country. Sure, Mexico mostly just considered the Tejas part of Coahuila y Tejas a rogue state, but still part of Mexico until the US brought Texas into the US. This led to a little skirmish most Americans have never heard of called "The Mexican-American War", in which America wound up invading an already weakened Mexico (years of infighting did Mexico no favors), and wound up grabbing most of what you think of as the Western US from Mexico as a prize. So if you think the US doesn't do stuff like that, we absolutely do. We mostly do that @#$% all the time.

And if you don't think they didn't put the Texians out in front to try to get a little Alamo payback during that war, they sure did.

Its more of a question of international law than US law, and how Texas was annexed to the US that suggests that maybe Texas was never actually annexed, and we're all living on occupied Mexican soil. Which is sort of a moot point 160 years later. I'm sure some academic, somewhere, is very bent out of shape about all this.

Different people have different viewpoints on whether Texas could secede or not, based upon the paperwork, but as far as the average Texan on the street is concerned, the ratifcation of the Annexation of Texas gives Texas the right to take their ball and go, any time they want. It inflates our sense of superiority as a state, and, man... that's sort of what we're all about down here.

However, (a) this deal was null and void thanks to re-entering the Union after the Civil War, (b) the paperwork nowhere actually says "you guys can go any time you like", and is sort of a mix of cultural legend and skewed reading of the annexation papers, and (c) this actually came up in court about ten years ago, and... no, Texas can't secede.

The fact is that Texans can't and won't secede, so, CNN and US media... chill the hell out. Its just an old joke. And if anything is more ridiculous than Perry's fake claims for secession, its the fake outrage and agreements by fake newsmen and pundits with fake opinions on this fake topic.

And yet, America is abuzz. (Cue exaggerated eye roll)

While we would do better than, say, Wyoming, if we were on our own again, we're pretty darn tied into the US. And while there's always some blowhard (see: Rick "The Hair" Perry) talking about how if these Democrats keep doing X or Y, we could bail, its the sort of dimwitted bravado that Texans are known for and handily reinforces the notions folks have out of state about Texas.

What is utterly moronic is that people outside of Texas hear this stuff, don't know the culture of Texas, and begin making assumptions that Texans really want to secede, or that a critical mass is for this idea.

Rest of the World: I assure you, they are not serious. We are not going to secede. Not over this, anyway. We take our US Citizenship as seriously as anyone else (we went through a hell of a lot between 1836 and 1865 to get it sorted out, after all). But thanks for playing that card, media. And thanks, public, for eating it up.

Bear in mind, we've had more Presidents than pretty much any other state even with our short history of Statehood. We have 4th of July picnics. We serve in the military in hge numbers. And we put up with Oklahoma being so close by with a minimum of complaint. What else do you want as proof of loyalty?

What I'd love to see is Perry, if he really, really wants to be governor again, actually do some governing. The Texas Governor's job is honestly pretty cushy when some hobo isn't burning your mansion down. Rather than threatening secession, try to dream up a plan to stimulate the Texas and regional economy rather than crossing your arms and throwing a hissy fit that the federal government has to take drastic measures to keep up all from becoming Tom Joad. (You are aware that our banks suddenly have no money, yes? And that's bad? And maybe that happened under the watch of the dude who got you your current job?)

In short, real leaders actually DO SOMETHING about a problem (usually staying within the law). It takes creativity and know-how, which is something Perry actually managed to do once, when he set up the Gulf Coast hurricane planning that worked like gangbusters for recent storms like Ike. So, Rick may want to put his thinking cap back on and get his pals in The Zoo at the Capitol to actually do some good.

Real leaders do not behave like a sixteen year old slamming his door in his parents' face because they totally won't let him have an XBox, even though Dad lost his job and money is tight. (But they totally promised...!)

I've lacked respect for Perry by-and-large all along, but it may be time for the guy to either take some sort of leadership role or get out of the way.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Safely Back in Waterloo

I came back to town today and to work for a few hours. I took my co-worker home and met his entire family, which was kind of entertaining. You hear little snippets about your co-worker's home lives, and then there they are, including the little dog.

I walked away with a nice plant I can put in my front yard flower bed. I'm actually very excited because its a bit more of a local plant and less of a shrub than what we have planted there now. I kind of want to tear out what we have in those beds and put in some native flora.

As a follow up to yesterday, I slept like a log last night once moved. Good for me, bad for my reading of Moby Dick.

Was going to write about final episodes of Terminator series, but I'm tired and I don't think anyone of you actually watch the show.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

apparently it was some coffee shop, not a bar. They host fund raising events. The world's nicest La Quinta employee moved me to a new room on, literally, the otehr side of the complex and all I can hear is the sound of trucks on the freeway and my air conditioner.

I should also mention they have free wireless, which the last Hyatt i stayed in did not.

If I catch any of you making fun of La Quinta, it will be pistols at dawn.
apparently my motel room is about 150 feet from some bar where I can look forward to singer/ songwriters actually starting to play at 10:00ish. Just when I thought I was turning in for the night.

It's going to be a long night.

And suddenly I have completely changed my stance on Austin's 70 db policy for outdoor musical venues.

TV Flashback

This post only sort of makes sense. I started looking at this "Bigfoot and Wildboy" intro clip and then posted a bunch of 70's and 80's era sci-fi stuff that I liked, but never really got much attention. This was back before I knew about TV ratings, separations between Prime Time TV and after school kid's stuff. Things like that.

Its kind of impressive what a practice in narrative economy these opening sequences are. You get the basic idea of what's happening, a funky 70's coke-fueled band, and a look at who you're going to see in the cast (and a surprising number of clips end with "John McCheese as Lt. Rodwhatsit". Why do we have to identify the cop's character, but nobody else?

Wonder Woman sort of does all this in song:

Got this clip at Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool.

I can't imagine what the dudes were on who came up with this, but it must have been a bit stronger than Children's Advil.

Okay, let me rephrase that. I can maybe see coming up with the idea. It's almost as good as my idea for a show where FDR goes underground to run a crackerjack team of secret agents who refuse to play by the rules. But in the 1970's, dagnabbit, Bigfoot was in, but everybody knew our pal Sasquatch didn't talk. Hence: Wildboy. What I can't imagine is being the chain-smoking, chain-philandering, chain-cocktail-guzzling TV exec who looked at clips of this show and said "Bigfoot and Wildboy? That's TV GOLD, PEOPLE! AIR THAT SUCKER!!!!"

I do actually remember this show from the late 70's. But only very vaguely.

After shooting all day in the Southern California sun, that actor in the Bigfoot suit must have smelled like last week's Catch O The Day.

I also stumbled onto this on, and it blew my mind. I've asked dozens of people if they remember this show, and nobody ever knew what I was talking about.

They often thought I was talking about "The Power of Matthew Star". But, no, I was not. I was talking about "Phoenix". I don't think it ran even a whole season, or much of what it was about, but as a kid I remember thinking it was really cool and that Phoenix dude was weird.

Matthew Starr was a show about a cowardly space prince with questionable hair and Louis Gossett Jr.

Jason and I were also really into "Voyagers!" when we were kids. I remember that the Thomas Edison lightbulb episode blew my mind. Trivia. That boy is Punky Brewster's brother, and the adult accidentally died when he pointed a gun at his head with a blank in it and the concussive force killed him. That's why the show ended.

We were also into the briefly lived "Automan", even though we knew it was sort of a lame cop show with Tron-inspired FX.

I was also partial to "Manimal", which would have done much better had it come along about 10 years later when someone invented a piece of software that would blend two photos together. The dude could turn into a falcon and a panther and stuff, and when he was a human, he was rich British guy with okay hair. Not bad.

V: The Series. Which made no sense as the evil Diana and her cohorts STILL wore their "human" masks, even after everyone on Earth knew they were really lizards. It's like keeping on a monkey suit well after everyone realizes you're a person.

Despite the hair (or maybe becuase of it), Diana is better looking than I remember.

The Infrequently spoken of Spider-Man TV stuff. Probably closer to what Ditko had in mind than all that Toby Maguire hoo ha.

The also infrequently discussed Captain America

There was also this post-Heavy Metal Levi's Commercial I was very fond of. Its probably why I wear Levi's to this day.

And just for fun: the opening of The Adventures of Superman

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Off To Wacky Waco

Short (practically non-existent) post.

I'm heading to Waco for about 36 hours or more.

I have to get up early, so I don't have time to pen my usual musings if I want to get some shut-eye before my big drive and whatnot tomorrow.

Oddly, this is really the last driving I plan to do for work for a smidge, so hopefully I'll be homebound for a few weeks.

No plans for my evening in Waco. Hopefully I'll just find a place to grab a drink and maybe do some dancing on campus.... Oh, right.

I hope I do not come face-to-face with an angry Baylor Bear

I actually really like the good folks at Baylor, and not just because their facilities are a jump better than ours and they fed me well last time I was there. I haven't spent the night in Waco since high school when our drama team was there for regional competition (and lost). I didn't actually sleep that night, and almost threw-up on the way home thanks to a steady diet of sugar and blue-colored sodas while out from under my parent's watchful eye.

Makes me wonder whatever happened to a lot of those crazy kids.

Anyway, I'm doing some training stuff, including LEADING some training, which is no good for anyone. But if you really, really want to know about open journal systems, meet me Waco on Thursday (but not tomorrow. I'm not leading anybody, anywhere tomorrow).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Your Time Killer of the Day

Here's your time killer of the day.

Movie and comic concepts reduced to their unflattering essence.

Two of my favorites:

SUPERMAN RETURNS: Illegal immigrant is deadbeat dad.
TERMINATOR: An unplanned pregnancy leads to complications.

Comics and Big Bang Theory

Because I'm going to get asked (Jill and Mom):

Yes, this evening's episode of "Big Bang Theory" was eerily on the nose. To the point where I wasn't laughing, so much as following the script's stunningly accurate depiction of comic shops, lingo, debates, culture, etc...

The issue Penny picked up was, I believe, a recent Booster Gold comic, which WOULD require the reader having had read Infinite Crisis, 52, and have a working knowledge of DC Comics' Multiverse and history. The Batman and Robin issue pulled from the bin was a year-old issue of All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder by Miller and Lee. Sheldon and Howard were fighting over the rare alternate cover by, I think, Neal Adams.

And, yes, the Battle for the Cowl is currently ongoing in Batman comics. As of right now, the DCU believes Batman to be dead following the events of Final Crisis, which leaves a gap as to who, if anyone, could fill Bruce Wayne's cape as Batman. Like Sheldon, I believe its obvious that only Dick Grayson would make sense as the heir to the cowl, but I appreciate Stewart's points on why failed-Robin, Jason Todd, would be an intriguing successor.

I'd forgotten Joe Chill is once again a part of the Batman mythos, but I think that was accurate or they wouldn't have said it...

Also, the comic Stewart picked up for Penny's nephew was, I think, Dangerous Habits, a Hellblazer graphic novel. You may loosely know the story from the movie "Constantine", which bastardized the story to no small degree. And, yeah, i would have loved it at 13, just as I love it now.

Yes, every comic shop has a Captain Sweatpants. In some shops, it is a miracle to see a girl. Not so much at Austin Books, where you see a mix of girlfriends (both dragged along and equal partners in this business) and many women who shop on their own. I owe it to selection, wide customer base and the fact that Austin Books is run like a professional shop more so than most comic shops. But I have, at some stores, seen the nervous look over the aisles when a woman walks into a comic shop. But I'll be honest with you, those geeks are probably mostly interested in seeing what you're reading.

But for the 90% of normal shoppers, there are those 10% of customers who are Captain Sweatpants, over-stylized goth lifestyle guy, whatever. I won't pretend those guys and girls aren't there, because they certainly are. But I wouldn't want it any other way.

Anyway, BNT is fun to watch thanks to its accuracy to comic and sci-fi geek culture. Its great to have a show that laughs along with geeks instead of depending on humiliating and inaccurate hyperbole. And the mix of high-minded science withc omics is a bit flattering to geeks.

Even some of the science stuff I know, like the Drake Equation, which anyone who watches those History Channel shows on UFO's might know, and its gratifying to see folks like Smoot show up on a sitcom. A weird, fun mix.

Almost as funny as seeing Gary Numan show up on The Mighty Boosh on my DVR.

It's always a pleasure to see a Flash joke make its way onto the show, or a discussion of Superman's costume, etc... These guys know their audience. And we are loyal and appreciative when you do things right.

The producers aren't dumb. They were at Comic-Con last year and had a huge crowd. This year should be even crazier.

Some Other Stuff

GL Trailer

Trailer for the upcoming animated Green Lantern movie.

I'm not sure why they changed the outfit, but I have no complaints. It looks cool. Seems they kept the storyline in place of what's now considered the Hal Jordan Green Lantern mythos, so I'm happy so far.

Go here.

Free Comic Book Day

May 2nd marks the 2009 edition of Free Comic Book Day!

For those of you playing catch-up, here's the skinny: On FCBD, comic companies produce comics that can be given away at no cost to people who come into the store. After several years of doing this, the companies have figured out what sort of things make sense to give away for free to people who read lots of comics as well as people who are coming by just to check out the free stuff.

Not everything is free, of course, but your local comic shop may have some events scheduled. I suggest calling them up or looking at their website to see what they have scheduled.

Here's a website to check out.

Kurt Cobain Suicide Anniversary

This week marks the 15th anniversary of the death of Kurt Cobain, which the music media has been intent on insisting was horrendously important to just about everyone of my generation.

At the risk of sounding callous, I just wasn't that into the band or the supposed air of mystery around Cobain. I was actually under the distinct impression that by early 1994, Nirvana was fading a bit from superstardom to regular ol' popular rockers. That, of course, completely changed with the death of Cobain, the release of the live MTV album, and the rock-n-roll martyrdom/ mystery of Courtney Love that surrounded the death.

I do know some folks take Cobain's death deadly seriously, and in that I feel awful for his child who will never not-be the daughter of Cobain and Love, then I feel terrible. But I'm not going to romanticize his death, and I'm certainly not going to pretend it made me a Nirvana fan.

For more on the legacy of Cobain, I recommend checking out Garth Ennis's comic series, "Preacher".

Sunday, April 12, 2009

B-Day & Easter

Having a birthday in early/ mid April occasionally means I share the weekend with the Easter Weekend. I figure in the big picture, folks probably care a bit more about Easter than my birthday (it seems my birthday may not hold the weight of Easter. Go figure).

I don't mind the confluence of days, and, in fact, welcome it. People are generally in a good mood on Easter, so in the case of this year, I kind of got to ride that wave.

Thursday we had dinner with some friends, as I mentioned. Friday was low-key, and I am afraid I wound up watching reality TV with Jason after dinner. Saturday we stayed home, ran some errands, and then joined friends and family at my folks' house in N. Austin for a lovely dinner with entirely too much food. And somehow I walked away with a 6' Superman standee (of the Bruce Timm art Superman. Pretty awesome).

Today we headed to El Arroyo for a family brunch (and for me to receive my birthday loot. Thanks, loot-bearers!), took in some sunshine and had maybe a Bloody Mary to say "howdy" to my latest journey around the sun. It was supposed to rain, but instead we had 80 degree temperatures and a clear sky. Really, couldn't have been better.

I hope everyone had a great Easter. Thanks to all who could make it to any of our outings this weekend, and all the Facebook, e-mail and other birthday wishes.

Some lovely birthday tributes from Jason and Jamie. Thanks so much, you two. I am to blush.

In closing, I have to post this picture of our good friend Erica's kid, Isaac, as he says "hello" to the Easter Bunny. An Easter Bunny from your darkest nightmares.


All My Friends
LCD Soundsystem

That's how it starts
We go back to your house
We check the charts
And start to figure it out

And if it's crowded, all the better
Because we know we're gonna be up late
But if you're worried about the weather
Then you picked the wrong place to stay
That's how it starts

And so it starts
You switch the engine on
We set controls for the heart of the sun
one of the ways we show our age

And if the sun comes up, if the sun comes up, if the sun comes up
And I still don't wanna stagger home
Then it's the memory of our betters
That are keeping us on our feet

You spent the first five years trying to get with the plan
And the next five years trying to be with your friends again

You're talking 45 turns just as fast as you can
Yeah, I know it gets tired, but it's better when we pretend

It comes apart
The way it does in bad films
Except in parts
When the moral kicks in

Though when we're running out of the drugs
And the conversation's winding away
I wouldn't trade one stupid decision
For another five years of lies

You drop the first ten years just as fast as you can
And the next ten people who are trying to be polite
When you're blowing eighty-five days in the middle of France
Yeah, I know it gets tired only where are your friends tonight?

And to tell the truth
Oh, this could be the last time
So here we go
Like a sales force into the night

And if I made a fool, if I made a fool, if I made a fool
on the road, there's always this
And if I'm sewn into submission
I can still come home to this

And with a face like a dad and a laughable stand
You can sleep on the plane or review what you said
When you're drunk and the kids leave impossible tasks
You think over and over, "hey, I'm finally dead."

Oh, if the trip and the plan come apart in your hand
You look contorted on yourself your ridiculous prop
You forgot what you meant when you read what you said
And you always knew you were tired, but then
Where are your friends tonight?

Where are your friends tonight?
Where are your friends tonight?

If I could see all my friends tonight
If I could see all my friends tonight
If I could see all my friends tonight
If I could see all my friends tonight